September 16, 2014

Top Three Takeaways From Content Marketing World 2014

Did you miss this year’s Content Marketing World, also known as the biggest content marketing event of the trade show season? Don’t worry—the Content Boost team was there acting as your eyes and ears. Our editors jotted down all the latest tips, tricks and best practices on topics ranging from content distribution to social media ROI. We also got a sneak preview of the results from Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI’s) 2015 content marketing survey. And now, we’re ready to share our top three takeaways with you. Let’s get started:

1. It’s all about strategy, strategy, strategy

If attendees were to take away only one thing from this year’s event, it would be the importance of implementing a content marketing strategy. As Joe Pulizzi duly noted during his opening keynote address, “The industry is more educated; it’s all about strategy.” In other words, content marketing is no longer just a buzzword, but a proven marketing tactic that helps businesses generate leads, drive traffic and close deals. Need proof? Just consider the fact that 50 percent of content marketers plan to spend more on their efforts, according to CMI’s not-yet-released survey results.

Industry pundits at the event agreed that it’s time for businesses to take the next step and strategically use content to drive ROI. However, this can’t be done without a documented strategy in place that helps guide the planning, delivery and governance of content. A comprehensive strategy is a core element that separates effective content marketers from their less-effective counterparts. So, start strategizing!

2.  Content will become the ultimate sales tool

Sales and marketing alignment—in particular, creating content as a sales enablement tool— was a commonly discussed theme during this year’s conference. Today, marketers are so focused on feeding the demand generation engine that they completely forget about sharing content with sales, and vice versa. However, as Peter O’Neill, vice president and principal analyst, Forrester Research, suggested during a panel, marketers are just as responsible for providing content to their sales force as they are to providing it to potential buyers.

What’s more, O’Neill, along with other industry experts, put out a call to action to marketers to start creating content that inspires and drives decision making. In other words, marketers must stop writing articles about the solution and, instead, start with the problem at hand. “The people sales meet with don’t need content about the buying decision; they need content for inspiring decisions,” said O’Neill.

3. Ditch the traditional marketing funnel

As keynote speaker and author Andrew Davis so eloquently put it, “There is a funnel problem.” Marketers and business leaders are still relying on the traditional marketing/sales funnel that was first invented by E. St. Elmo Lewis in 1898, which illustrates that buyer motivation depends on the following: awareness, interest, desire and action. While this model may have worked in the past, the customer journey has changed dramatically. Instead of using the traditional marketing funnel, Davis suggests that marketers embrace a “Galilean customer journey model” in which the consumer remains at the center.

Like O’Neill, Davis urges marketers to ignite a moment of inspiration, challenging them to create content not for the moment of purchase, but for the beginning stages of the consumer journey, which he says, is the single largest content opportunity to drive revenue.

These are just three key takeaways from this year’s show. Check out the Content Boost blog for more on CMWorld 2014 and other helpful content marketing tips and tricks. 

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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